HMD Project – Part 13

It’s been a while.

Whilst not quite dormant, the project has been very slow.  I have my solution and I have a working mock-up.

It works and it’s lovely  .Well… It works(ish) and it’s lovely( ish).  But sadly hasn’t changed form for several months – again due to cabling issues…. (more later)

My rough n ready ride through vintage HMD land cost money, it was very enjoyable and I learned a lot.  However, it was getting me nowhere – the industry, what’s left of it,  just doesn’t give a rats arse; they are after all, still in business.

A post by cr0sh here: made me realise this; the nail is knocked on the head:

“I would concentrate your skills on homebrewing your equipment; without documentation on these HMDs, you’re likely to end up with a pile of plastic if you continue down the experimental path you’re on”

So, with this advice, I looked at the basics:

How to create the images

How to make stereo happen

How to have it on your face

Without messing about anymore on what was done, I concentrated on what I could do.  I know I really needed 1.2-2” display panels.  This just wasn’t gonna happen, not in a decent resolution, or without serious arse ache. So, to make HD images, as small and as affordable as possible I purchased a couple of displays from Vitrolight

small AND big

By head mounted display standards these things are massive.  But they are HD (720p) and, to my surprise, are actually really good, although not a super spec, the actual images are sharp as and colour reproduction and ghosting is superb, in my humble opinion.  For the price.


Although my initial maths were a little off, more later, the concept is good and provable. Magnification is via a set of swimming goggles with a set of decent 2 Lens Convex Achromat Lenses attached.I’d say FOV is about 80 degrees.  Clarity is soup herb.  If you can take the croutons.

Stereo is via a stereo mirror; essentially two 45 degree mirrors.  simples.  I considered a more complex 4 mirror version, however added complexity in the optical path is a PITA and also, it’ll just end up with a smaller image, harder to magnify.  Big images, easy optics. that’s what I want.

I have helmets.  On the face is EASY.
As Tone pointed out, it’s just like this – but bigger!

So, why nothing solid ?  Why no videos, no build manuals no raving ?

Well… cables. I need to extend some cables, the LVDS cable between the LCD panel and the driver board… again.  I’m just not clever enough, I’m too bumbling.

Do you think you can help me with this ?

This entry was posted in HMD Display. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to HMD Project – Part 13

  1. fernando martinez says:

    this is fernando from mexico…

    man!!! i think i am just like you, i am obssesed about doing something like this, your solution about 4 glasses is grate!!! i just want to see the final picture so i can just copy :D:D:D:D:D:D… i know that all this thing is about 3d, but if i just whant a hmd, (plain) what would be your advise.. (recently i did some experiments with a sinble display just about the size of yours 7″, and the thing was that my alles got so so tired, do you thing that the mirror arragements you did could help?

    please let me know when you are ready or your comments…

    (grate blog you got man!)

  2. fernando martinez says:

    *** sorry i just saw again your pictures and it is clearer… i have some questions, i hope you can answer:

    1. does your ayes got tired because of the clossedness of the mirrors to your ayes??

    2. you are using two displays, are they showing the same image, but you move a little the displays to give the effect? or there are actually two different images in each display??…

    3. how much did you invested?

    • z says:

      Hi, Sorry for the delay…

      Eye strain; yes – due to the optics, not the mirrors really I tried a variety of lenses and methods to hold them but could never really get it perfect.

      Initially same image on each display, but using drivers can get each image to be offset for 3D

      Too much 🙁

  3. DharmaSoldat says:

    Hay, I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya (see HMD post #11) but I thought I’d share some news.

    I purchased a Sony HMZ-T1 and am building my dev box this weekend. I’m planning on doing all my dev on ubuntu 11.10.

    Drop me a line if you’re interested in hearing how it goes.

  4. dt says:


    Thank you for making so much headway into this, I’ve recently discovered a passion for doing the same thing myself. I think I’m going to try and use your model and see if I can figure out how to bundle everything up well so it’s easy and quick to use. I’m going to attempt to use a wireless VGA transmitter and jerry rig a rechargeable battery onto the thing so that it’s completely wireless but we’ll see how that goes bc I want to add a kinect onto the device and figure out how to accomplish completely hands free computing.

    My question is about heat. How much heat to the lcd screens give off when you are using it? Does your face get uncomfortably hot? What about the boards? I assume I’ll have to figure out a way to keep the battery cool as those things have a tendency to get quite hot so hopefully there is some cheap material out there with good heat absorbtion abilities. Thanks again this is exactly what I was looking to do.

    • z says:

      Hi, I havn’t noticed any heat at all, to be honest!
      Biggest issue is getting the smallest boards you can…

      Good luck! Start a thread on the MtBS3D forums

  5. KuDawg says:

    Hey man! Very nice work with what you had, I would scrap the Vr4 helmet, get a flight open face bike helmet so there is no weight on the bridge of the nose, make that into a box type shape, ad a hinge like the vfx-1 had so you could lift the so called visor up if needed, about the big board, you could cut it down to size as Palmer did, if not then if they arent both to heavy, I forget how heavy as I did have one before but somehow add them on top, if you use a helmet like I am, the wieght doesnt rest on the nose, might be alittle heavy but nothing compaired to the MRG2.
    I don’t see how you can use the Vr4 and not have it slide down unless you plan to make the cables long and use them for balancing.

    Good luck and nice Project..


  6. hle38 says:

    Hi Z,

    Did you progress further on this project? Your design looks nice as it provides HiRes
    support. Could you share more information on the optics you are using?

    I’m grabbing information before starting my own HMD project 🙂

    Thanks a lot !

    • z says:

      Sadly I didn’t, not much anyway – I did get a 3 screen rig with Nvidia Surround working, which was a little bit awesome! but the weight was a little too much for me. Also, until a recent operation I had two collapsed disc in my neck, which made having fun with a helmet on (and looking around etc) very uncomfortable!

      PalmerTech at forums has made good headway with a stereo two screen version of this (mounting the displays vertically, so not great inter pupil issues) Google “Oculus Rift” – some very exciting things going on with him at the moment 🙂


      I am making do with 3 24″ monitors at the moment 🙂

      • hle38 says:

        Thanks a lot for you reply Z !
        I’m also regularly looking at PalmerTech and others mtbs3d forumers threads.
        You’re all doing a very impressive work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *